As Chicago's Population Decline Continues, City Narrowly Maintains Status as Nation's Third-Largest

Chicago was the only one of the top 20 major U.S. cities to see a population drop

Chicago’s population has once again declined, but this time the city lost more than double the number of residents as it did the year before, according to newly released data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

While the city maintains its status as the nation’s third largest, Chicago lost 8,638 residents from 2015 to 2016, dropping from 2,713,596 to a total of 2,704,958. 

Houston, which grew by 18,666 residents, remains closely behind the Second City with a population of 2,303,482.

Chicago was the only one of the 20 largest U.S. cities to see a population drop during that time period. It marks the third consecutive year the city has lost residents.

According to state population data released last year, Illinois also lost more residents in 2016 than any other state.

Illinois lost 37,508 residents in 2016, bringing the state's population to 12,801,539 people.

Ten of the 15 fastest-growing large cities were located across the South in 2016, with four of the top five in Texas, according to the bureau.

“Overall, cities in the South continue to grow at a faster rate than any other U.S region,” Amel Toukabri, a demographer in the Census Bureau’s population division, said in a statement. “Since the 2010 Census, the population in large southern cities grew by an average of 9.4 percent. In comparison, cities in the West grew 7.3 percent, while cities in the Northeast and Midwest had much lower growth rates at 1.8 percent and 3.0 percent respectively.”

Only one Midwestern city was among the top 15 fastest-growing cities on the list – Ankeny, Iowa.

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